Bright and early last Wednesday morning I traveled to beautiful Bryce Canyon, Utah for a quilt retreat. I was so looking forward to a fun "working vacation" with friends and family! My sister-in-law and her sister were attending as were several of my friends. The scenery never fails to disappoint, and I had to pull over to the side of the road to take this picture with my phone. I wish I had taken a photo on the way home...it was a completely different view with everything covered in snow!
I had an absolutely wonderful time teaching my 3 classes--two of them were quite full, and it was a challenge making sure every student was getting all of the information and instruction they needed; I had stressed for months about a couple of the classes when I saw how high the numbers were. I think it turned out okay; at the end of each class the blocks were starting to come together, and beautiful quilts were on their way. Everyone was incredibly friendly and nice, and I truly enjoyed talking with and meeting so many new people. I have to say it was rewarding that all 23 of the the students in my "Abby's Treasure Box" class finished their bags within 2 hours of the start of class!
Along with teaching the three classes, I was able to do a little shopping at the vendor booths. I thought I had picked up just a few fat quarters, but this afternoon I counted and had purchased 20 of them! I must say I had to pick up some fabric because I got into one of my classes last minute and hadn't brought supplies...so that's my story, and I'm sticking to it! Actually, though, I think I was thinking to myself what wonderful additions some of these would be for my "scrappy trip along" quilt!
The first class I took was a sewing with laminates class by Jina Barney. Laminates have terrified me for years. I don't really know why, but I just haven't felt like I would ever be able to sew well with them. The class was wonderful, and I'm now excited to add more laminate sewing to my project list. I didn't have a special foot or even my walking foot with me, but by putting blue painter's tape on the bottom of my presser foot I was able to sew smoothly and evenly. It also helped to lengthen my stitch to 3.5.
My "last-minute" class was the "Tessie Flower" quilt class taught by Amy McClellan, owner of American Quilting in Orem, Utah. (You'll notice I did use some of the fabrics I purchased to make my first block, so they were necessary purchases)! I really enjoyed the class, and felt like Amy's applique' method is one I'll use again. I was especially happy with how the points of my leaves turned out. I feel like my applique' skills have really improved over the past couple of years, and I'm excited to make the rest of the blocks for this quilt!
Along with teaching and taking classes, there were 1-2 lectures and trunk shows to attend each day. I was thrilled to learn about a variety of quilting journeys, learn a little about quilt preservation and restoration, and learn about different perspectives on the creative process. Since I was attending a quilt retreat, I was a little surprised that the final lecture was to be given by a potter and author, Ben Behunin. Ben was a delightful speaker and spoke about his creative process as he creates his pottery and writes books (Remembering Isaac: The Wise and Joyful Potter of Niederbipp, Discovering Isaac - The Beloved Potter of Niederbipp, Becoming Isaac: The Next Potter of Niederbipp (Remembering Isaac, 3) and .Borrowing Fire: Rewriting the Eulogy for a Boy Named Wolf. I collect pitchers and was thrilled to find a pitcher among the things for sale by this wonderful speaker. Even though he spoke of pottery and books, I appreciated how his insight into creativity applied to my art, quilting. Here are three quotes I wrote down from Ben:
"A man who works with his hands, head, and heart is an artist."
"I believe we have a duty as artists to share our portion of light with a world that is often dark."
"Find yourself being creative in quiet spaces, and amazing things will happen."
I left the retreat exhausted yet refreshed and ready to start more projects. I left inspired and at the same time motivated to finish things I've already started. I left with the realization that every quilter is an artist--whether following a pattern or creating a new design. I left with the gratitude that I found this wonderful form of creative expression and am able to learn from and share my thoughts on this craft with so many wonderful people!
Thanks so much for stopping by!